Rumors

Rumor Roundup: Expansion draft could create a dilemma for the Penguins

Lyle Richardson
By:

Marc-Andre Fleury (Gregory Shamus/NHLI via Getty Images) Author: The Hockey News

Rumors

Rumor Roundup: Expansion draft could create a dilemma for the Penguins

Lyle Richardson
By:

Penguins management could face a difficult decision over which goalie to protect -- Marc-Andre Fleury or Matt Murray.

The NHL and NHLPA recently agreed upon the rules for a potential expansion draft that could be held following the end of the 2016-17 campaign. Though these rules haven't been officially released, TSN's Gary Lawless reported sources claim players carrying no-movement clauses must be protected from the draft, while those with no-trade clauses won't be exempt and can be exposed.

NBC Sports Ryan Dadoun notes that could create an interesting dilemma for the Pittsburgh Penguins. Should an expansion draft be held, existing NHL teams can only protect one goaltender. With rookie netminder Matt Murray filling in very well for sidelined starter Marc-Andre Fleury in the 2016 playoffs, Penguins management could face a difficult decision over which one to protect.

While the 31-year-old Fleury carries a no-movement clause, Dadoun cites a Sportsnet report indicating that only covers waivers and demotions. Fleury has a partial no-trade clause in which he must annually provide a 12-team no-trade list. If there's an expansion draft, his no-movement clause won't protect him.

This is raising some speculation suggesting the Penguins could trade Fleury this summer rather than potentially losing him for nothing to an expansion draft. However, management doesn't have to rush into anything. They could keep their goalie tandem intact for next season to determine if the 21-year-old Murray is truly ready to become a full-time NHL starter before deciding which one to protect.

If they protect Murray but still wish to retain Fleury, they could also cut a deal with an expansion team to ensure the veteran goalie isn't selected in the draft. For example, they could offer up a draft pick and/or a prospect in return for future considerations, that being Fleury gets passed over in the draft. As the expansion draft rules must be within the guidelines of the CBA, there probably won't be any restrictions on such deals.

BRUINS COULD TAKE A RUN AT SHATTENKIRK

If the St. Louis Blues decide to trade defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk this summer, the Boston Bruins could be among the suitors. CSNNE.com's Joe Haggerty cites a source claiming the Bruins are “well-positioned” to take a run at the 27-year-old blueliner.

Shattenkirk is eligible for unrestricted free agency at the end of 2016-17. His current annual cap hit is $4.25 million. He'll undoubtedly seek a substantial raise on his next contract, possibly pricing himself out of the Blues' comfort zone. The emergence of younger defenders such as Colton Parayko could also make it easier to trade him.

Should Shattenkirk hit the trade block this summer, Haggerty claims it's the defenseman's desire to be dealt to an Eastern Conference team. While he lacks a no-trade clause, Blues GM Doug Armstrong could try to honor his wish.

Haggerty wonders if a package from the Bruins of Zach Trotman, Ryan Spooner and a conditional first-or second-round pick (based on Shattenkirk re-signing with the Bruins) might tempt the Blues. Given Shattenkirk's status as an elite NHL blueliner, he'll attract considerable interest from clubs seeking an upgrade to their defense. The Buffalo Sabres, Colorado Avalanche, Columbus Blue Jackets, Edmonton Oilers, New York Rangers and Vancouver Canucks could be among them and would offer competitive bids.

Rumor Roundup appears regularly only on thehockeynews.com. Lyle Richardson has been an NHL commentator since 1998 on his website, spectorshockey.net, and is a contributing writer for Eishockey News and The Guardian (P.E.I.).

For more great profiles, news and views from the world of hockey, subscribe to The Hockey News magazine.

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Rumor Roundup: Expansion draft could create a dilemma for the Penguins